Former UNC Senator Sturge Found Guilty of Contempt, Fined $5000

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TRINIDAD & TOBADO — Outspoken attorney and former United National Congress (UNC) Senator Wayne Sturge has been found guilty of contempt of court.

Sturge’s professional conduct came under scrutiny after he posted comments on his Facebook page of a criminal trial at the Port of Spain High Court in October, last year, the Trinidad Newsday reported on Thursday.

The former UNC Senator was found guilty of the criminal offence by Justice Norton Jack who ordered that he pay a fine of $5,000 within seven days or in default spend six months in jail.

He also ordered that the issue be referred to the Disciplinary Committee of the Law Association for its consideration.

“I expect that this will never happen again,” the judge said after he accepted Sturge’s apology.

The Trinidad Guardian reported that before the sentence was passed, Jack gave Sturge — who was seated at the bar table with his attorney Gerald Ramdeen and several members of his law chambers — an opportunity to address the court.

Sturge was quoted as saying, “I did not expect that reporting on the case would have this effect, it was not my intention. In those circumstances, I apologise for bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.”

Sturge noted that since the issue was raised after screen-shots of the posts were sent to Jack during the trial, he has refrained from making posts related to ongoing legal proceedings.

“It is not something that would happen again,” Sturge was reported by the Guardian as saying.

In a brief interview after leaving the court, Sturge said he would consider whether to appeal Jack’s decision before the deadline for paying the fine expires.

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